Feb 25, 2018

Vegetable Rice Bowl for the Family (野菜丼)

Don't walk away just yet, this vegetable rice bowl is not as plain as you think. In fact, with the help from the pork slices and grated ginger, this is actually a pretty aromatic and fulfilling meal. 

Vegetable rice bowl  (野菜丼) -

Ingredients (4 portions)?

  • 4 portions quinoa rice or plain white rice
  • 18 slices fatty pork
  • 1/2 small cabbage
  • 1 bundle tong ho (glebionis coronaria)
  • 1 cup bunashimeji mushroom
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 medium carrot
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 4 tablespoons twice concentrated Japanese tsuyu 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Some corn starch and water mixture


If using fancier quinoa rice, soak the quinoa first for about 10 minutes then add to white rice. Cook and fluff the grains once ready. Keep them warm while waiting for the vegetable toppings to be done.

Peel and slice garlic cloves. Tear the cabbage into large bite size pieces. Cut the tong ho leafy greens in half. If you can't find tong ho, a small bundle of aromatic greens like cilantro will do the trick. Pick out dry stems from the bean sprouts. Grate the ginger. Julienne the carrot. 

Use a big pan and drizzle some olive oil along with garlic, salt, and pepper. Turn to medium high heat. Sear till that garlicky aroma comes out, but not burning them.

Add in cabbage, mushroom, carrot, bean sprouts, and grated ginger. These vegetables will pile up like a little mountain. It might seem overflowing at first, but rests assure that they will cook down soon after.

Once wilted, add in tong ho or other tender leafy greens. Just remember to cook harder texture vegetables first then add in soft leafy greens towards the end. Or simply cook any ingredients that you prefer a softer bite early on.

Add in pork slices one by one. Do not dump them in all at once since the pork slices might stick together and will end up taking more effort to separate them.

Pour in chicken stock and Japanese tsuyu. Bring the whole mixture to a boil them keep it at a low heat. Mix about 1 to 2 tablespoons of corn starch water mixture. Pour in the corn starch mixture while gently stirring the veggies to spread it out evenly.

The sauce will start to thicken, slightly gooey but not soupy, also without any lumps. 

Scoop out cooked rice and generously top with this vegetable mixture right before serving.

Some might also drizzle a little bit of sesame oil before serving. However, this time I prefer just let these aromatic ingredients speak for themselves and avoid over-powering their natural aroma with sesame oil. 

Light yet flavorful thanks to the aromatic greens and grated ginger. Also the fat from the pork slices help binding all the ingredients together, providing a more gentle touch on the tongue. If you have someone who does not fancy eating vegetables in the family, perhaps this Japanese style rice bowl can come to a rescue.

Other rice bowl/donburi recipes:

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